A Travellerspoint blog

January 2009

The Haizhu District & Goodbye Beautiful Guangzhou

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, So here I sit snuggly snug snug on my bunk on board the sleeper train bound for Kaifeng City. Everyone around me is either sleeping or trying to sleep but being kept awake by the loudest snorer in the entire world, who is of course right opposite yours truly. I boarded the train around mid day and quickly became friends with a very cute girl from Guangdong who works as an overseas consultant in Beijing and her English was excellent. We sat talking for hours about this and that until ten this evening when the lights went out and I was left sitting as I usually do when I'm on board a train, still wide awake thinking to myself; Who throws a shoe?.....oops, sorry that was Austin Powers who said that. I actually sit thinking, who the bloody hell goes to sleep at ten in the evening. Anyhow tomorrow morning I will actually get off in Zhengzhou City which is about an hour from Kaifeng. My friend Ying will meet me and the first thing we will do is enjoy a couple of Mc Muffins and have a catch up chat over a Mc ElcheapO Coffee. Ok, so what has been happening in the past four or five days prior to me boarding this train? The weather has been very much up and down, raining one day and sunny the next kind of thing which makes it rather difficult to enjoy your time when you are travelling. Thankfully though the days it rained it poured so I got a lot of writing done and the days is was sunny it was very warm with a bright blue sky as managed to fit in the last bit of the city I wanted to walk which surprise to me became my favourite part of Guangzhou City. It can be found across the Pearl River and it is known as the Haizhu District which is one of Guangzhou's four ancient districts. The other three are the Liwan, Yuexiu and the Dongshan Districts. The Haizhu was once the largest in area and the least dense of the four old districts in Guangzhou. This of course was before the city expanded its size to include districts such as Tianhe to the east and Baiyun to the north. Haizhu was also the only island district south of the Zhujiang River, so the local people often call it "Henan" ("Honam" in Cantonese, which means "south of the river"). Henan is also the province in northern China where Luo Wei is from. Today, it is no longer the largest district in Guangzhou nor it is the southern most districts. What it is now is actually very costly as it has some of the most expensive real estate in city. This is due to it being so close to the heart of the city along with the fact that it is not over crowded nor filled with high rise buildings etc, yet. Though it may not be filled with high rises its river front does have some of the tallest and most expensive residential buildings in the city which rival those in Tianhe District. The name Haizhu means "pearl of the sea" in Chinese. I spent most of the sunny daylight hours winding my way around and along Tongfu Zhonglu from Jiangwan Lu to the park that over looks both Shamian Park and the Bai'etan Bar District. Some parts have obviously had money spent on renovating them which make them look more of an New Ancient part of the Ancient District but the rest is still very much stacked on and squashed in.. So much so that many of the buildings actually look like they are about to topple over. A good walk for anyone who wants to spend a day over this side of the city would be to begin at The Site of the Former Marshal Palace and simply take a relaxing stroll through the little streets all the way to where the river forks. In many places when you look towards the sky you will see a modern city peering down at you from above just beyond the tiny area you are in. As it looms over you you can almost hear it whispering, soon I will be where you are now! Yes, like in most cities in modern China, many of these ancient blue stoned walkway filled areas are either being demolished, in the process of being marked for demolition or hungrily looming over what was once its neighbors waiting to take the next step in high rise moderisation. I used a small green patch on my map as a destination. It was labeled Haizhuang Park but what I actually found was one of the Guangzhous four great temples called Haizhuang Si which was built during the Southern Han dynasty and named Qianqiu Si. It was renamed Haizhuang Si at the end of the Ming dynasty The temple has well over one thousands years of history and also like most temples most of it had to be rebuilt as much of it was demolished during the cultural revolution. Oh that Cultural Revolution was very cultural wasn't it! In came the writings of Chairman Mao, bounded together in the 'Little Red Book'. Thoughts were thrown around and implemented, posters put up, families were split, romance really sucked, the Red Guards began their destruction, smart people disappeared, special things and places such as art and temples were torched and destroyed. Basically anything 'old' was not allowed eg: old customs, thinking and culture and due to clothing codes and in came the famous Chairman Mao suit! Millions of people died through beatings, executions, suicide and lack or denial of medical care. Oh those snot nosed little Red Guards, what they did to the country can never be excused or replaced. Anyhow, enough of that it is time for me to shut this thing down and either throw my shoe at the snoring man or use the rest of my battery on my MP3 and hopefully fall asleep with it playing. Today the very south of China, tomorrow back to the north of China. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane _____________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by Jewel The album was 'Pieces Of You' _____________________________________

Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizhu

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizhu


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua


Haizhuang Temple &  Tongfu Area  Haizua

Haizhuang Temple & Tongfu Area Haizua

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Whirly Windy Things That Spin & Back On Baiyunshan

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Whirly windy things that spin. They come in an enormous amount of colours and designs. They flash, they spin and they mesmorise both Chinese adults and children. For the last few days every where I walk I see people of all ages walking with only one arm at their side. The other is before them with a whirly windy thing that spins in the wind. I am serious, it doesn't matter who they are, what age they are or even where they are they all walk around with these things in their hand. They all walk around with that same big happy expression you see on a child's face when they get one of these things at a fair. Shopping centers, metro stations, noodle bars, parks, gardens, mountain trails it doesn't matter. They giggle, they laugh, they do both while looking at their own or each others. It honestly is so innocent that it is beautiful. I woke wondering what in the world I should do for such an important event as today was, that being Chinese New Years Eve. Usually I am with friends and as they are Chinese that makes their New Year very much pre-planned by traditional and family. Therefore we don't have to worry about what to do or where to go. This year I found myself very far away from all my friends both Chinese and Western. And sadly, even further away from Luo Wei. Who I would love to be with to celebrate our second Chinese New Year together! As usual I felt like spending the day walking but I'm almost out of places to go so I figured why not head back to the mountain as there is still so much of it I haven't seen. So I raced to Gongyuanqian metro station and grabbed Bus 24 to the bottom of the mountain and when I came across the following text on a large sign I was not only impressed, but happy to begin my New Years Eve day here. [/i] The city of Guangzhou was established over two thousand and twenty years ago. Baiyun Mountain has stood beside it as its loyal protector and has been historically hailed as the 'Dragon Vein' of the city. According to records, after the Emperor Yingzheng of the Qin Dynasty (BC221 to 207) reunified the south of China, a Feng Shui expert told him that the north of Guangzhou (which was then known as the city of Renxiao) between Baiyun Mountain and Yuexiu Mountain, there was an inauspicious yellow cloud and purple mist. [/i] [/i] Which in turn meant that the place was the dragon vein of the entire country.[/i] And in the future some extraordinary figure would be born. [/i] [/i] Fearful of this news, Emperor Yingzheng sent someone to the south of China to destroy the dragon vein by digging a huge hole with a diameter of several dozen Zhang (a measurement used in ancient China, 1 Zhang = 3.333 Meters) at the foot of Baiyun Mountain. According to the chronicle of Panyu County, after digging the hole the area looked like a giant saddle. Therefore the mountain became known as Saddle Mountain. Now few people know that the seemingly ordinary and undulating mountain south of Jingtai Cave and north of Hengzhi Ridge is 'the' Saddle Mountain that greatly frightened the first Chinese Emperor in history well over two thousand years ago. [/i] [/i] It was around mid day by the time I finally finished walking to the top of the mountain and as I hadn't visited the Mingchungu Natural Bird Cage I decided to head there first. The bird cage cost 10 Yuan to enter and the ticket price also includes the Dishuiyan Butterfly Valley. The Mingchungu Bird Cage is the largest Natural Bird Cage in China and was built in 1989. Inside you walk amongst over five thousand birds of over one hundred and fifty varieties. As it was New Year most people were at home eating a traditional lunch with their family so I had the entire bird cage and valley to myself. The birdcage was beautiful (by Chinese standards) and though it sounds bigger than what it is I still spent about an hour or so walking from here to there and playing silly buggers with all the birds such as the cockies that say Ni Hao. I know I live in China but a cocky should say 'Hello Cocky, wah wah' and not Ni Hao wah wah! It really was the strangest thing when I first heard it. I then spent an hour walking around the Dishiuyan Valley which really was extremely beautiful. I was hoping the pathway would take me to the bottom of the mountain as I was then going to walk around the other half of the lake but instead it wound its way back to the top again. It would probably be better to visit the valley during summer as then the waterfall would be much more than just a trickle. I then headed across Shanding Square and began walking down the stairs that would take me to Nengren Temple and then the bottom. Somehow though I got distracted by a sign that read 'to the ????? Temple ruins' and for the next three hours I was happily walking every which way but down. I ended up way over on another mountain were EVERYTHING was Dragon This and Dragon that! Its like this everywhere in China, dragons dragons dragons, but you never actually see any damn dragons! By now it was dark and I must give a big thanks to the person who was smart enough to say, hey let's put lights along all of the mountain tracks. Baiyun Mountain is just as beautiful at night and very safe as you will find families walking together all over the mountain after dark or so I am told. I can vouch for the part I was on as I must have past over ten families on the hill and on my way down. I ended up on the same road as I ended on last week so I caught Bus Number 127 and figured as I still had over four hours until mid night I would take it to the end of it's route. I ended up at the Zoo Bus Station and from there walked all the way to 27 Martyrs Cemetery Metro. There wasn't much to see but I had some wonderful Muslim Noodles on the way. From there I caught the metro across town to Huangsha Metro Station and soon I was happily walking once again in peace and quiet amongst the European buildings on Shamian Island. Once I left Shamian I expected to find the streets in a complete frenzy of New Years party goers. Instead I found a small trickle of people and I thought to myself, this is Guangzhou, a city with a population of nearly three and a half million people and very international and all that stuff.. Where the hell is everyone on such an important night? Surely they all can't be all still home eating. After walking along the Pearl River for about twenty minutes I noticed that on the other side there seemed to be a constant stream of people walking so when I reached Jiefang Zhonglu I decided to head across the bridge and see if there was a party across there. I didn't find what I was after which was a 'Chinese Festival' with a dragon, traditional performances etc but what I did find was a road closed off to motorists and thousands upon thousands of people walking in both directions. In the middle were stalls selling flowers, things that blow up into the shape of an Ox, flashing Ox badges, Ox tee-shirts, Ox drinks, Ox snacks anything and everything Ox as it was soon to be the Year of the Ox. And of course I also found a million varities of whirly things that spin in the wind. Some of these also flashed and had Ox's on them also. What I didn't find, in fact for the entire day I didn't see anyone drinking alcohol, arguing, fighting and nor did I find any litter on the ground. I then realised that I hadn't seen any of these things since arriving in Guangzhou and now realised that despite what is written about this city, it is in fact one of the cleanest Chinese cities I have been to and it was a pleasure to see the new year in here. The people of Guangzhou are very proud people and they are very proud of their city. After being here and travelling far and wide seeing some....not so clean places, I am proud of them too. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane ________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by the wonderful Mr Bungle The album was 'California' ________________________________________________

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox


Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Happy New Chinese Beers N Noodles of the Ox

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Happy Chinese New Year of The Ox. Some Info For U

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Traditional Celebration of the Chinese New Year </b> Of all the traditional Chinese festivals, the New Year was perhaps the most elaborate, colorful, and important. This was a time for the Chinese to congratulate each other and themselves on having passed through another year, a time to finish out the old, and to welcome in the New Year. Turning Over a New Leaf </b> The Chinese New year is celebrated on the first day of the First Moon of the lunar calendar. The corresponding date in the solar calendar varies from as early as January 21st to as late as February 19th. Chinese New Year, as the Western New Year, signified turning over a new leaf. Socially, it was a time for family reunions, and for visiting friends and relatives. This holiday, more than any other Chinese holiday, stressed the importance of family ties. The Chinese New year's Eve dinner gathering was among the most important family occasions of the year. Sweeping of the Grounds </b> Preparations for the Chinese New Year in old China started well in advance of the New Year's Day. The 20th of the Twelfth Moon was set aside for the annual housecleaning, or the "sweeping of the grounds". Every corner of the house must be swept and cleaned in preparation for the New Year. Spring Couplets, written in black ink on large vertical scrolls of red paper, were put on the walls or on the sides of the gate-ways. These couplets, short poems written in Classical Chinese, were expressions of good wishes for the family in the coming year. In addition, symbolic flowers and fruits were used to decorate the house, and colorful New Year pictures (NIAN HUA) were placed on the walls (for more descriptions of the symbolism of the flowers and fruits. </b> Kitchen God</b> After the house was cleaned it was time to bid farewell to the Kitchen God, or Zaowang. In traditional China, the Kitchen God was regarded as the guardian of the family hearth. He was identified as the inventor of fire, which was necessary for cooking and was also the censor of household morals. By tradition, the Kitchen God left the house on the 23rd of the last month to report to heaven on the behavior of the family. At this time, the family did everything possible to obtain a favorable report from the Kitchen God. On the evening of the 23rd, the family would give the Kitchen God a ritualistic farewell dinner with sweet foods and honey. Some said this was a bribe, others said it sealed his mouth from saying bad thins. Free from the every-watchful eyes of the Kitchen God, who was supposed to return on the first day of the New Year, the family now prepared for the upcoming celebrations. In old China, stores closed shop on the last two or three days of the year and remained closed for the first week of the New Year. Consequently, families were busy in the last week of the old year stocking up on foods and gifts. Chinese New Year presents are similar in spirit to Christmas presents, although the Chinese tended more often to give food items, such as fruits and tea. The last days of the old year were also the time to settle accumulated debts. Family Celebration</b> On the last day of the old year, everyone was busy either in preparing food for the next two days, or in going to the barbers and getting tidied up for the New Year's Day. Tradition stipulated that all food be pre-pared before the New Year's Day, so that all sharp instruments, such as knives and scissors, could be put away to avoid cutting the "luck" of the New Year. The kitchen and well were not to be disturbed on the first day of the Year. The New Year's Eve and New Year's Day celebrations were strictly family affairs. All members of the family would gather for the important family meal on the evening of the New year's Eve. Even if a family member could not attend, an empty seat would be kept to symbolize that person's presence at the banquet. At midnight following the banquet, the younger members of the family would bow and pay their respects to their parents and elders. Lai-See</b> On New Year's Day, the children were given Red Lai-See Envelopes, good luck money wrapped in little red envelopes. On New Years day, everyone had on new clothes, and would put on his best behavior. It was considered improper to tell a lie, raise one's voice, use indecent language, or break anything on the first day of the year. Starting from the second day, people began going out to visit friends and relatives, taking with them gifts and Lai-See for the children. Visitors would be greeted with traditional New year delicacies, such as melon seeds, flowers, fruits, tray of togetherness, and NIANGAO, New Year cakes. Everybody's Birthday</b> The entire first week was a time for socializing and amusement. On the streets, the stores were closed and an air of gaiety prevailed. There were numerous lion dances, acrobats, theatrical shows, and other diversions. Firecrackers, which symbolized driving away evil spirits, were heard throughout the first two weeks of the New Year. The Seventh Day of the New Year was called "everybody's birthday" as everyone was considered one year older as of that date. (In traditional China, individual birthdays were not considered as important as the New Year's date. Everyone added a year to his age at New Year's time rather than at his birthday.) Terminology & Symbolism </b> Chinese Lunar Calendar: The Chinese calendar will often show the dates of both the Gregorian (Western) calendar and the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The Gregorian dates are printed in Arabic numerals, and the Chinese dates in Chinese numerals. Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, and is constructed in a different fashion than the Western solar calendar. Family Associations</b> </b> Organized according to family surnames, such as the Wong Family Association, etc., are social clubs or lodges which were first set up in Chinatown to serve the social and personal needs of Chinese workers. Flowers </b> Flowers are an important part of the New Year decorations. In old China, much use was made of natural products in celebrations as well as in daily life. The two flowers most associated with the New Year are the plum blossom and the water narcissus Lai-See Envelopes (Also called Hong-Bao) </b> Money is placed in these envelopes and given to children and young adults at New Year's time, much in the spirit as Christmas presents. Presents are also often exchanged between families. Lucky Character</b> The single word " FOOK ", or fortune, is often displayed in many homes and stores. They are usually written by brush on a diamond-shaped piece of red paper. Plum Blossoms</b></b> Stand for courage and hope. The blossoms burst forth at the end of winter on a seemingly lifeless branch. In Chinese art, plum blossoms are associated with the entire season of winter and not just the New Year. Spring Couplets</b> Spring couplets are traditionally written with black ink on red paper. They are hung in storefronts in the month before the New Year's Day, and often stay up for two months. They express best wishes and fortune for the coming year. There is a great variety in the writing of these poetic couplets to fit the situation. A store would generally use couplets hat make references to their line of trade. Couplets that say "Happy New Year" and " Continuing Advancement in Education" are appropriate for a school. Sweeping Out The Old</b> Welcoming in the New: Old business from the past year is cleared up Tangerines, Oranges, Pomelos</b> Tangerines and oranges are frequently displayed in homes and stores. Tangerines are symbolic of good luck, and oranges are symbolic of wealth. These symbols have developed through a language pun, the word for tangerine having the same sound as "luck" in Chinese, and the word for orange having the same sound as "wealth". Pomelos are large pear-shaped grapefruits. Tray of Togetherness</b> Many families keep a tray full of dried fruits, sweets, and candies to welcome guests and relatives who drop by. This tray is called a chuen-hop, or "tray of togetherness". Traditionally, it was made up of eight compartments, each of which was filled with a special food item of significance to the New Year season. Water Narcissus</b> Flower that blossoms at New Year's time. If the white flowers blossom exactly on the day of the New Year, it is believed to indicate good fortune for the ensuing twelve months. Chinese Zodiac</b> The rotating cycle of twelve animal signs was a fok method for naming the years in traditional China. The animal signs for one another in an established order, and are repeated every twelve years. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane ___________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by the Gorillaz The album was 'Demon Days' ___________________________________________

Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You


Happy Year of the Ox To You

Happy Year of the Ox To You

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

I'm Alive and well and still in Canton City!

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Just a quick 'Hey I'm still alive and well' blog.

I've joined the 'Mobile MSN/Email' group so I have bothered with a Net Bar at all as I've been using my phone to check my email until today when I walked passed this place and had some facebook people I needed to reply too. I'm still here in Canton City (Guangzhou) BUT I received my new E-Passport today. Now I have to carry two passports...I need my old one as it has my Chinese Visa but the passport has been cancelled so I need my new passport for ID etc.

I've had such a wonderful time so far this break.

I'm not used to staying in the one place for so long when I travel but Guangzhou has so much to see and its so big. So for someone like me who loves to walk then I could spend a month here easily. The weather has been so warm and I mean like shorts and t-shirt warm. Poor Luo Wei had snow at her uni (not far from my school, as the crow flies anyhow). She is now in Kaifeng with her mother and they have no heating so they spend much of their time keeping themselvs busy and then sleeping to keep warm.

Now I have my new passport I can take off elsewhere....if I can get a ticket!

I think I might head into the mountains for a few days of peace and quiet and slow walks. Maybe then head to a village or two to see a heap of old european style watch towers. There is also a place I want to visit where I can take a raft for half a day to visit some 1500 year old temples...now that would be cool but it may be costly.

Or depending on the weather I might just hang out here.

It turned very grey and windy today and Guangzhou has an awesomely huge metro system that stretches way out into the burbs so if it rains tomorrow, I think I'll continue on here and use the metro to get here and there to see more things. The food here is awesome. It has everything I've ever eaten in China but all in the one city. Being here has made me home sick for the south of China again.

The food, the colours, the smells, the people and the the tiny southern girls...hahaha. There really is that much of a difference between the north and the south!

We have two days until Spring Festival and everywhere in China is becoming so colourful. They have been putting up colourful lanterns all over the place for the past week or so and I can't wait to see the city when they have all their lights on. Over here it is totally about family and as good as it sounds it really can be an absolute pain in the butt to travel. They give everyone in the country the same holidays so you have millions upon million upon millions of people all travelling for days to get back to their families. Then all goes silent as the beers and noodles flow and then everyone travels back to their place of work.

So accommodations is really hard to find, it is also expensive and bus and train tickets are also nearly impossible.

I've been very lucky(in a way anyhow). When I arrived here I chose my hotel from the You Stay You Stay guys at the train station and after a few days the Military dropped in and wanted two entire floors and what the military wants, THEY GET! So I, along with a heap of other people were downgraded and I argued and argued until I got what I wanted. Sometimes you can use the 'Chinese Face' thing to your advantage especially when they have caused the problem and simply expect you to go along with it all. So I not only have a room at half of what I normally pay but I have 24 hour Military guards on my floor so I am safe when I am home and all my stuff is safe when I'm not.

But all that comes at a price and that is NOISE!

The soldiers come home and are woken up at all different and strange times of the morning...never night! Anywhere between 1am to 6am. So what you have is hundreds of soldiers chanting their military changes as they stamp up six and seven flights of concrete stairs. It really is an amazing thing to hear. They then have to shower and relax and being Chinese they do this YELLING at each other. For them its talking but for us its yelling. Those of you that have been here should be on the floor laughing by now!

So these holidays I've been using my mornings to sleep and using the afternoons and evenings to walk. BUT, putting that aside there really isn't anything like a real Chinese New Year.

The firecrackers have started and the closer it gets to new year the more of them there are. Seriously they go ALL NIGHT so sleep is also hard to come by. I would hate to come home too drunk one night and with the military stamping and chanting and the firecrackers I would probably run around screaming that there is a war on. Kind of like what I did in Japan when I was staying in a hostel not far from an active volcano and I woke up very hung over and the Japanese news came on over ALL the speakers in the town.

Hahaha, I thought it was the volcano going off and grabbed all my stuff and began running down the hallway.

Ohhhh memories...gawd I love travelling! And lastly, this will be my sixth Chinese New Year in China...how yeah is that!

OK, time for me to head out and try to figure out where I am. I stepped on my USB dvd player last night so after collecting my new passort I then had to find the 2nd hand computer market place...if that isn't enough I now have to find my way back to somewhere I actually know. I am near the Pearl River so I will take the little back alleyways and head in a western direction and I should hit somewhere I've been before.

Beers N Noodles toya....shane __________________________________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by a hundred or so Chinese. The album was...ALL of them yelling into their net microphones....oh so loud! ___________________________________________________________________________________

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

The Nanfeng Ancient Kiln Fires & Foshan City

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Mate they are bloody everywhere, growing like vines! Miniature orange trees or maybe they are baby orange trees...whatever! The streets have become literally covered with them. In fact whilst walking around I have found several small streets that have been cut off from traffic so they can set up these 'Orange Tree' markets. Strangely as crowded with trees as they already are trucks still come along and unload more of them. While walking down these streets you will see some of the strangest things. Here you will find families all holding up a tree each and comparing them. They all look the same to me! What they are comparing? I just can't to figure out! I could ask Luo Wei or Google it I guess but I am determined to figure it out for myself. I just know it is a Spring Festival thing as this happens every year. As they compared them I would get closer and watch them. One family even began asking me which tree was the best one to buy. I tried to explain that out of the six hundred and forty three billion trees that are on this side of the street alone, the five they were holding up looked identical to all of them. They all seem to have the same amount of oranges and are all shaped the same. So no matter how hard I try I just can't figure it out. But what I do love about these 'Orange Tree Markets' is watching how they get the trees out. Today I was in Foshan City and Foshan is like a billion times smaller than Guangzhou City and obviously has a billion times less money, so much so that I would feel much more comfortable living in Foshan than Guangzhou. All around me I had families with their three wheeler bikes that had one or several miniature orange trees in the back tray. Or there would be Grandpa peddling and Grandma in the back tray holding on tightly to their new Spring Festival purchase. I've been here four years but I will never tire of watching the old family bike going past me. Especially when its Grandma peddling and Grandpa kicking back in the back with grandchild. Foshan City is simple to get to. Buses begin before seven in the morning and run every fifteen minutes until eleven in the evening. That is a hell of a lot of buses for a city that is only twenty kilometers away. It takes about forty to fifty minutes to get there and once there the city is so small that you will have no need for a taxi or even a bus adventure. The LP states that Foshan is one of China's oldest Pottery Towns that dates way back to the Han Dynasty (BC221 to 207). It has been known throughout its history for its ceramics, metal working and carving. Foshan is also famous for its Ancestral Temple (Zu Miao) and it got its name Foshan (Buddha Hill) from three statues of the Lord Gautama that once stood on a nearby hill during the Tang Dynasty (AD618 to 907) when Foshan used to be an important Religious centre. <u>Zu Miao Ancestral Temple</u></b> Costing only twenty Yuan to enter and can be found on busy Zumiao Lu just down from the small bus station and round about. When you leave the bus station don't hold the LP map with the bus station (No 9) to your chest. Turn the book the other way and you'll find that you need not to cross the road in front of you but simply turn to your left and turn the corner to where you will see a Mc Donald's sign. The temple can be found on the opposite side of the road about one hundred meters down. This Ancestral Temple complex was founded during the late 11th Century. Happily for me it is also an awesome example of Chinese architecture from the south. The temple is dedicated to Beidi, Taoist God of the north, commonly represented by a turtle and a snake. You.ll see a statue of Beidi in the main hall, along with some extraordinary caved wooden screens. Some of the buildings within the complex have the 'wok handle style' roofs which can be found all around this area. You will also find ridge tiles covered with delightful ceramic figures taken from folklore. The temple complex is part of the Foshan Museum. So you can also find many collections, including a display on Cantonese opera and martial arts. I spent several hours here slowly walking around and resting while watching as the colourful Spring Festival decorations were being put up all over the grounds. I also stood with many other visitors and was amazed by many of the martial arts shows that are put on by people as young as what looked to be around ten. <u>Renshou</u></b><u> Temple</u></b><u></u></b> Free entry and found only a few minutes walk along Zumiao Lu can be found the Renshou Buddhist Temple which was once a Ming Monastry. As you will find upon entry is also remains an active place of worship today. Inside you'll find a beautiful seven story pagoda which was built in 1656 along with the Foshan Folk Arts Studio which is a house for famous paper cuts. I love Buddhist Temples and I was so happy when I arrived because the whole shebang was going on inside. I sat on the stairs watching, listening and feeling very much at peace with life under a huge blue sky. I'm now at a confused cross road. Being back in the south makes me want to 'come home' so to say but Lue Wei is in the north and we do get do see each other so much more than when I was living in Fujian Province. Oh how tough are the questions that life throws at me huh? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha....just kidding! Back to Buddhist temples. I love the small ones like this that don't have the annoying Buddhist Chants playing over six billion speaks throughout the complex. It goes on and on and on and then they expect you to buy the cd and take it home to listen to. Its not that the chants are actually annoying but all the bigger Buddhist Temples play the same ones over and over again. It's kind of like tuning into Triple M or Fox FM back home! <u>Liangs</u></b><u> Gardens</u></b><u></u></b> At the end of Zumiao Lu you will come to Qinren Lu, take a right here and then a quick left into Songfeng Lu and a short way down you will find an archway on your left. Beyond are the Liangs' Gardens. Entry is still ten Yuan and they are definatly worth the entry fee. When ever I enter one of these Residencies/Gardens I always find myself comparing them to those I visited in Yangzhou or Suzhou in Jiangsu Province. They were built and paid for by those who found extreme wealth as salt merchants or painters during the Qing Dynasties. Foshan Liangs' Gardens are one of four ancient gardens with Lingnan style and were established from the Jiaqing period of the Qing dynasty (AD1795 to 1850). This garden was built by Liang Airu and his three nephews who were all local calligraphers and painters. At its golden period the garden covered 130,000 square meters and included several buildings such as the Stars Hall, Fenjiang Straw Hut, Twenve Stones Studio and Han Xiang House. Due to many years of negligence the gardens lost some of their elegance and even some of its buildings but thanks to the city all/most have been returned to their original splendour. Beyond the ticket box you will find elegantly styled gardens, pavilions, galleries, tranquil lotus ponds, bridges and shady willow lined pathways where once calligraphers, painters, writers and revolutionary tycoons used to seek peace and tranquility. Donghua Lane (Donghua Li) where once homes with their distinctive southern style roofs and doorways looked like they had hardly been touched or changed since the Qing Dynasty sadly have now been demolished on the inside. Soon this area (found between Renmin Lu and Jianxin Lu) will be yet another New Ancient Town. Most tourist towns build a New Ancient Town from the ground up. It looks ancient but its all actually brand new. In a year or so this area will be the real deal and having gone from the 'real thing' an entire city area that had been untouched since the Qing Dynasty it will now still look that way but once you enter the residence you will have moved into a new time period, that of now and being in the now and the area you will find yourself walking past many Pick and Point eateries. These eateries can be found all over China but what makes these ones so special is their seating. I kid you not, in one tiny little room as small as Carey Bradshaw's shoe cupboard can be found no less than fifteen people all rubbing more than elbows while eating. I stood outside waiting for someone to leave as I thought the shoe cupboard was more then full but I soon found myself being beaten and squished like a piece of putty and I was nestled or more like squashed between many people and clicking chopsticks with them all. This more than made up for my disappointment at having been many months too late to experience the tranquility of Donghua Lane. The staff were also more than amused at my own amusement of the entire experience. So if you for some reason find yourself in Foshan City besides trying the pick and point soup places you must also take a relaxing walk along the Fen River. Here you will rub elbows with the locals, eat at little eateries, walk several of the cities river bridges and make the decision on whether to make the journey to the neighbouring pottery of Shiwan. I did but I was sadly much too late. I took a motor bike taxi what was supposed to be two kilometers but it felt like about twenty. I have a huge fear of horses and motor bikes both of which seem to have a mind of their own. I've been thrown off a horse and several motorbikes in the past and I guess the fact that I have no control of any of them has created that fear. During last summers Beers N Noodles Adventure I actually willingly got back on a horse in Inner Mongolia and spent the day so tense that I was sore for days afterwards, but it was more than worth it as I got the see Luo Wei in extreme happiness. She had total trust of her horse and spent the day giggling and laughing while cantering here and there. I on the other hand sat upon my horse in extreme fear of the many bees that were buzzing around its body. When on the back of a motor bike I totally freeze and remember the ride I had several days prior to coming to China back in 2005. Nothing happened but the fact that we were doing well over 200kms down a country road that could have had anything scattered on the road was a little too much for me. Add to that when I was living in Tianyang Town in Guangxi Province after a drunken afternoon in a small village being taken home along a busy highway the driver lost control after hitting a pot hole and we both were thrown onto the on coming traffic lane filled with huge trucks. Not for me, not for me, not for me! Back to Shiwan City. The fact that it houses the Ancient Nanfeng Kiln that has two ancient Dragon Kilns that are supposed to be over thirty meters long was too inviting for me. So on the back of a motor bike I got. Sadly when I arrived the Pottery City was closed. I did though take a walk around the lake and figured that the entire place had become more of a tourist trap than anything. But those of you who have read my blog would also know I love Tourist Traps just as much as I love to find the out of the way villages. So for those of you who love pottery and the fact that Shiwan is one of China's more important ceramics production towns then this would be a highlight of your stay in Guangzhou. For those of you who aren't pottery fans, remember this fact. The Nanfeng Ancient Kilns fires have never been extinguished since they day they were lit during the early Ming Dynasty (AD1368 to 1644). That's a flame that's been alive for many hundred years longer than white man has been living in Australia, Canada and the good old US of A. Think about that the next time you make a coffee and light a cigarette! China! Unfreaking believable mate! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane _____________________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by one of the most awesome bands ever, Primal Scream! The question is not when is he going to stop, but who's going to stop him! The album was 'Kowalski' _____________________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)